California still says mask up at office, for now

State health officials postponed vote to scrap mask and social-distancing measures in workplace for fully vaccinated

Los Angeles /
May.May 21, 2021 11:00 AM
California is waiting to adopt the CDC maskless decision. (Getty)
California is waiting to adopt the CDC maskless decision. (Getty)

Masks and social-distancing measures are still mandatory in the office and in other workplaces across California.

The state’s Division of Occupation Safety and Health decided to keep the policies in effect in work settings, according to the Los Angeles Times. The board postponed a vote to June 3 on a proposal to do away with those requirements as long as everyone in a room was vaccinated.

The state and L.A. County have gradually eased Covid restrictions on retailers and other businesses over the last several weeks and months.

While the CDC has deemed it safe for fully vaccinated individuals to be maskless in most places, the advisory left it to states to make their own policy decisions. Some have lifted all mask measures while others, like California, have taken a more cautious approach.

The state will wait until June 15 to adopt that policy in non-workplace settings, the Times reported, in order to allow for more vaccinations. Guidelines still call for unvaccinated people, or partially vaccinated people to still wear masks under most circumstances.

New York State adopted the CDC’s guidance on Wednesday.

Barbara Burgel, a member of the state Division of Occupation Safety and Health called the CDC guidance “a bit premature.” She added the guidance “shifts the responsibility to individual employees to try and sort out, ‘how are we going to know if our co-workers are vaccinated? How do we know if vaccinated individuals have symptoms?’” she said.

Many California restaurant owners, and other business owners and trade groups have vigorously fought restrictions during much of the pandemic. Last fall, they battled especially hard against restrictive measures officials the state took to combat the second wave of Covid. This week, L.A. County health officials reminded retailers that state mask measures in stores still apply. The move came after a South Pasadena Trader Joe’s — following company policy — said all vaccinated shoppers could enter without a mask.

[LAT] — Dennis Lynch 


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